By now most industrial companies have some type of social media presence, and many of them are discovering what a resource drain it can be. Even companies with a dedicated social media person or team are finding it difficult to keep up with all the different platforms, posts, tracking, following, measuring and more. For small companies with a lone marketer, social media might be another to-do on a long list of responsibilities. That’s tough. No wonder social media can feel like a black hole where your time and resources disappear.
But with a few adjustments to your tactics and resource allocation, you can significantly increase your efficiency on the social media front.
Focus on the most important channels
There are many social media channels, with new ones popping up all the time. Don’t get sucked in. Focus on the channels that give you the best opportunity for connecting with your target audience. According to IHS GlobalSpec’s Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector research report, the three most popular social media channels for engineers are LinkedIn, Facebook, and video sharing sites (such as YouTube). The top performer is LinkedIn, where 63 percent of industrial professionals have an account. Forty percent of engineers who use LinkedIn read product and industry news, and 67 percent belong to at least two groups. LinkedIn may be a good place to post your news, link to blog articles, or moderate a discussion group.
A company page on Facebook might make sense as well. Fifty-four percent of engineers have Facebook accounts and 81 percent of them follow companies and groups within their industry. If your company produces videos, starting a YouTube channel is a good strategy, so you can post your videos and extend your reach. Google Plus is also growing in popularity among your audience. On the flipside, just five percent of engineers have an account on photo-pinning site Pinterest. Focus your resources on those channels—or the single channel—that gives you the greatest reach and best results in terms of followers, comments, and views.
Integrate content across social media channels
What a time drain it is posting content separately to each social media platform you use. Instead, look for ways to post once and share across channels. For example, Facebook and Twitter have a connection so that every Facebook post can be fed to Twitter and vice versa. LinkedIn’s polling feature allows you to share a poll from LinkedIn on Facebook or Twitter. Often times, you’ll want to customize the communication for the channel but there are occasions – a press release or new product rollout, for example – where the same message can be used across all platforms.
Another idea is to add social sharing capabilities to your web pages. This will allow visitors to share a link with their followers on their own social media accounts. It’s an easy way to get your customers and prospects participating in your company’s social media efforts.
Automate social media functions
There are a number of free or low cost tools on the market that let you schedule your social media posts ahead of time. This is ideal for your evergreen content or information that doesn’t get old or outdated. You prepare the content and schedule when it runs. This way you don’t have to spend time updating each channel. While automating your posts and tweets can be a time saver, you still can’t ignore what’s happening around you in social media. Major breaking news stories can dominate social channels and a pre-scheduled message delivered during this time may seem out of place or, at worst, insensitive. Have a plan in place to determine how and when to pause your scheduled posts. Two tools to consider are Hootsuite and Post Planner. Some tools offer additional productivity features, such as tracking conversations, measuring campaign results, and even suggesting content for posts.
Take a team approach
Possibly the best thing you can do to alleviate the burden on your resources is to recruit a team of colleagues to participate in your company’s social media efforts. Even if you work in a small company, you probably have a few people who are comfortable and knowledgeable using social media. You will need to educate your new recruits on your company’s social media goals, the voice and tone that are appropriate to your brand, and other social media policies and guidelines you have developed.
Look for team members who can help functionally in creating social media content, or participating in discussions/responding to comments, or planning and scheduling. You can have different people focused on different platforms, or divvy up the work according to days of the week, or any other way that works for you.
Social media is growing in importance and has established its presence in the industrial sector. If you use your resources wisely and efficiently, you will be able to have a successful and visible social media strategy, without disappearing into the black hole.
If this article was helpful to you, please spread the word using the share buttons below.
How have you created efficiencies with your social media efforts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.